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Why Enameled Cast Iron Discolors (& How to Fix It)

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I treat my Staub better than I treat my cat. I treat both well—don't worry—but my Staub lets me cradle it and wash it and fuss over it in a way that my cat does not tolerate.

That's why I was alarmed (ashamed, even) to find discoloration—brownish, coppery mottling—on the sides and bottom of my graphite-colored cocotte. Where had I gone wrong? Had I had not cared for it properly? I had used it to sauté Suzanne Goin's Genius Slow-Cooked Kale (...five times) and to bake no-knead bread—but I certainly had not pushed it to its limits.

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I scrubbed with dishwashing liquid and a sponge—but no dice. I figured that I was stuck with the stains for life.

Before and after.

But the Staub gods smiled upon me and my precious pot. It just so happened that Director of Marketing for Staub, Joanna Rosenberg, told Kristen Miglore that this kind of marking was what happened when fats like oils and butters aren't fully cleaned off and then burn onto the sides of the pan.

The solution—which won't come as a surprise to you if you're up to date on all of our enamel care news—is good old Bar Keeper's Friend. And what a friend indeed!

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Stains, begone! (My Staub went topless for the second pictures.)

I put my pot in the sink, dampened it with water, sprinkled Bar Keeper's Friend over the problem areas, and scrubbed—rather firmly—with a paper towel. In a few minutes, the stains were gone and my love for my Staub was renewed. (And the BKF worked to clean up my other scorch-bottomed pot, too.)

Some of our finest enameled cast iron pots:

Food52 x Staub Round Cocotte

Food52 x Staub Round Cocotte

From $149
Staub Oval Cocotte, 7QT

Staub Oval Cocotte, 7QT

$349
Staub Essential French Oven, 3.75QT

Staub Essential French Oven, 3.75QT

$199
Food52 x Staub Piglet Essential French Oven, 3.75QT

Food52 x Staub Piglet Essential French Oven, 3.75QT

$199

Looking for more happy-ending transformation stories?

How I Got the Cooked-On Gunk Off an Enamel Pan
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How I Got the Cooked-On Gunk Off an Enamel Pan
How to Clean a Spice Grinder (or Coffee Grinder)
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How to Clean a Spice Grinder (or Coffee Grinder)
5 Kitchen Tools That Are Much Easier to Clean Than They Look
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5 Kitchen Tools That Are Much Easier to Clean Than They Look
How to Refinish a Wooden Cutting Board
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How to Refinish a Wooden Cutting Board

We first ran this post last spring, but are bringing it back in case you missed the memo and want to get your cocottes shining like new. Read how our favorite enameled cast iron is made, and shop for it, here.

What are your best kitchen cleaning tricks? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: enamel, staub, enamel cast iron